Chairman of Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives says safeguard on frozen beef imports is necessary to protect livestock industry

TOKYO, Aug. 3 – Chairman of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as JA-ZENCHU, Choe Okuno, commented on Japan’s latest safeguard on frozen beef imports from the U.S. and other countries. “The safeguard was imposed automatically by the laws. It’s necessary in order to protect domestic farmers and promote the livestock industry in Japan,” he said.

The emergency tariffs on beef imports are triggered when quarterly beef import volume exceeds 117% of that of the previous year. It’s the first time for the safeguard to be imposed on imported beef in 14 years. The Japanese government will raise its tariff on frozen beef from the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand from the current 38.5% to 50%, which is the level agreed upon as the international standard. The higher tariffs will be kept until the end of March next year.

“The cost of raising beef cattle in a small country like Japan and big countries like the U.S. and Australia are very very different,” Okuno pointed out and stressed the importance of securing reproduction systems in the industry.

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